Microsoft announced today their planned restructuring that will lead to as many or more than 18,000 layoffs. While the breadth of the layoffs is quite obviously wide, it's unclear how the restructuring will directly effect the Xbox division of the company. One Xbox studio, however, has already reportedly been slated for closure. Xbox Entertainment Studios, started in 2012 to produce gaming-related video programming, and its 200 employees will soon no longer be a part of Microsoft.
IGN is reporting that Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, has confirmed the studio's closure himself:
"As part of the planned reduction to our overall workforce announced today and in light of our organization’s mission, we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox. One such plan is that, in the coming months, we expect to close Xbox Entertainment Studios."
Oddly enough, Spencer confirmed that several Xbox Entertainment Studios executives will be staying on with Microsoft despite the studio's closure. This includes Nancy Tellem, the studio's President, who will be retained and "remain committed to to original programming already in production." Both Halo TV, Steven Spielberg's production, and Halo: Nightfall will continue development.
Few of the studio's productions every had the opportunity to come to life. Their documentary regarding the great gaming crash of 1983 was certainly the most notable project, in which the company dug up a portion of the desert in search of buried E.T. cartridges. Other productions included bringing the Call of Duty Championship, Miss Teen USA and the VGX awards to Xbox Live. What other projects lay in store will likely never come to light.
The only other mention of how the restructuring will effect Xbox was Spencer stating that, "we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox." That is to say, that he said very little on the subject. Expect to know more as soon as we do.
Our thoughts go out to all Microsoft employees affected by today's announced layoffs. Let's hope each will be back working on a project they're passionate about before long.